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- After Tori discovered that Philip is the Footprint Killer, he tried to kill her — only to be interrupted by Samantha and Tempest. He fled, and Tori wound up hospitalized and in a coma.
- Rattled by Tori’s attack and the appearance of a strange package on her doorstep, Molly asked Philip to stay at her house. Philip was pleased that his plan had worked.
- While waiting at the hospital for word on Tori’s condition, Brent learned that Claire had lied to him about having to work that night as a way of putting off their dinner date. 

KB Memorial Hospital

The fluorescent lights buzz almost imperceptibly overhead as Diane Bishop winds her way through the hospital’s corridors. When she reaches Tori Gray’s room, she stops at the open door, her usual momentum halted at once by the sight before her. Sarah Fisher Gray sits beside her comatose daughter’s bed, her back to the door and her head bowed so that her blonde hair hangs messily around her face. 

Diane thinks twice about intruding, but she didn’t come here simply to watch Sarah sit by Tori’s side. She raps lightly on the open door with her knuckles.

Sarah turns with a start, urgent alarm in her eyes, but then lets out a deep breath when she clocks the visitor’s identity.

“I just finished up at the station and wanted to see how you were doing,” Diane says as she enters the room. “Both of you."

“The doctor said there’s been no change so far — which might be a good thing."

Diane nods reverently. 

“You didn’t happen to bring coffee, did you?” Sarah asks.

“No, but I’m betting the last thing you need right now is caffeine.” 

Sarah’s face appears drawn, and her eyes are somehow both puffy and sunken, with dark shadows hovering just beneath them. 

“You need to sleep at some point,” Diane says.

“I slept a little over there,” Sarah says, indicating a chair in the corner. 

“Where’s Matt?"

“He went home to be with Billy. Alex was nice enough to be on babysitting duty all night.” 

“How about when he gets back, you let me drive you home so you can shower and rest?"

“I don’t want to leave her.” Sarah shakes her head to emphasize her point. “I never should’ve let her go out last night."

“You didn’t exactly let her—"

“I should’ve known. It’s my job to figure out when someone’s lying.” Sarah takes Tori’s limp hand in her own. “Sorry for snapping at Samantha the way I did. I know she was just an accomplice to the whole thing."

“It’s fine.” In any other situation, Diane would make it clear that Tori obviously browbeat Samantha into going along with her lie, but she knows that isn’t what Sarah wants or needs to hear right now. “She’s going to come out of this, Sarah. She’s young and strong."

“She has to.” Sarah turns back to look at her daughter, lying still in the bed. If not for the slew of machines and tubes and wires connected to her body, Tori might appear to be sleeping peacefully. “I don’t know what I’m going to do if she doesn’t wake up.” 

* * * * *

Claire Fisher stands at the nurses’ station, making notes on a patient file with a blue pen that is rapidly running out of ink. As she scratches away at the paper, her mind is filled with swirling thoughts that step on and bump into one another, never allowing her to clear the canvas and focus on any one thing. Tim’s message last night, informing her that the paint he found in Spencer’s car was not the same as the paint used at Cameron’s murder scene, provided her with a great sense of relief for a short time, enough that she was able to fall asleep early so that she would be rested for her early shift. But that sense of peace was blown to pieces when she awoke at 4 a.m. to numerous messages about how Tori had been attacked and had lapsed into a coma. Just because Spencer didn’t use that particular paint doesn’t mean he has nothing to do with the crimes. She doesn’t want to entertain the idea, but she knows that she cannot ignore it, either. 

She is staring blankly into the distance, her charts momentarily forgotten, when she sees Brent Taylor step off the elevator. She waves, but he regards her with merely a tight-lipped nod. Claire hurries toward him.

“No change yet,” she says. “But I think Sarah’s been here all night."

“I came to check in on her.” There is something flat and official about his voice, almost as though he is reading off a script.

“Have you found anything else about who did this?” she asks.

  Claire Fisher

“You know I can’t talk about that.”

He seems to be scanning the area, avoiding eye contact with her. His aversion confirms a fear that has been brewing in Claire since she found out about Tori.

“I guess you found out I wasn’t working last night,” she says. “I’m sorry, I— there was something going on that I didn’t feel comfortable talking about."

Finally his eyes settle upon her, but there is no sign of the softness that she hoped to find there.

“Not a big deal,” he says, though his tone suggests otherwise. “I need to go check in with Sarah. Have a nice day."

He heads through the doors that lead to the patient rooms. Claire watches him go, with an ache in her chest that she hasn’t felt in a long time. Things were going so well between them; everything seemed so promising. She avoided their dinner date because she didn’t want to implicate Spencer before Tim had all the information, and she didn’t want to lie to Brent. But now neither situation is resolved; she has managed to lose Brent’s trust, and she is suspicious that her own son could be a murderer, even though she has absolutely no evidence to support that fear. With a sigh, she returns to the nurses’ station, finds a new blue pen, and attempts to focus on her charting. 

* * * * *

It is little surprise to Philip Ragan that he hardly slept a wink last night. His barely-there sleep on Molly’s sofa was plagued by visions of Tori Gray: of the terror in her face when she realized that he is the Footprint Killer; of her motionless, battered body in the car of her passenger seat; of her bolting awake in her hospital bed and shouting that she knows who the killer is. Even the fact that his other plot actually succeeded — that the anonymous package left on Molly’s doorstep drove her right back to him — is of little comfort in light of the threat that Tori poses.

He hears the front door close in the foyer and finishes folding the blanket that he used last night.

“Thanks again for staying the night here,” Molly says. “I’m sure it was silly of me to need the reassurance, but—"

“No ‘buts.’ It isn’t silly at all. All of us have every right to be scared these days. I’m sorry you had to deal with a threat like that in the first place."

“It’ll be okay,” she says, in a tone that sounds like she is trying to convince herself. “Thank you for being such a good sport."

“Anything for you.” He offers a warm smile — nothing too pushy, nothing too expectant, simply an expression of affection toward her. “Has there been any word from the hospital?"

“Nothing new. My parents finally went home to sleep. I’d like to stop in and see Tori this morning, though."

The mere mention of the young woman, especially coming from Molly’s mouth, drives a dagger of panic into Philip’s gut. His insides twist as he does his best to remain calm externally. 

“Would you like a ride?” he asks. “I heard you offering Danielle your car to drive the boys to school."

“That would be so nice of you. I was going to take a cab. Danielle’s car wouldn’t start last night, so she left it downtown and has to go back there to meet AAA after she drops off the kids. I offered to go with her, but she refused…" Molly trails off, a puzzled look on her face.

“I’m sure she’s only trying to spare you any inconvenience on a day like today,” he says. “Where would you like me to put the blanket and pillows?"

“I’ll bring them upstairs,” Molly says, scooping up the pile of bedding before Philip can make a move. “You’ve done more than enough, Philip."

He smiles, but uneasiness stirs within him as Molly spirits the pillows and blanket upstairs. He hasn’t done enough yet — that’s precisely the problem. 

* * * * *

After a bit of coaxing, Sarah convinces Diane to go down to the cafeteria and get her something caffeinated, just to get her through the next hour or two until Matt returns. She still isn’t sure that she is comfortable leaving Tori’s side, but she knows better than to argue with Diane Bishop. 

She isn’t sure which is wearier — her body or her mind — as she stands from her chair and uses the remote control to turn on the aging television mounted in the corner of the room. She is flipping through a succession of morning talk shows and court programs when Brent appears in the doorway.

“How’re you guys doing?” he asks.

Sarah shrugs and leaves the TV on The View. 

“Maybe all this bickering will force Tori to wake up,” she says, indicating the TV with the remote.

  Sarah Fisher Gray

Brent grins and comes into the room. “We spoke with both Felicias and that Ian kid early this morning."

Sarah feels a surge of adrenaline move through her. “And?"

“None of them has any idea who Tori was seeing. One of the Felicias and Ian saw her at a beach party a few weeks ago, and they said the only guy she seemed to be with was Spencer."

“Yeah, they’ve been hanging out. She had dinner with him a few nights ago, too. Have you talked to him yet?"

“Detective Harris is on his way over to do that now. Fingers crossed that he knows something."

“Yeah.” Sarah goes over to place the remote on the nightstand and once again takes Tori’s hand. “I can’t believe this is happening. Yesterday, she was bouncing all over the house, playing with Billy, asking me for 20 bucks — and now she’s lying here, like this."

Brent joins Sarah at the side of Tori’s bed. 

“We just have to have faith, I guess,” he says. “And I promise, I’m going to catch this bastard."

“Good. Because if you don’t, I’m going to find him and kill him myself."

“I don’t doubt it."

Sarah looks down at Tori, and at first, she thinks she must be seeing things. But then it happens again: her daughter’s eyelids flutter.

“Did you see that?” she asks, turning quickly to Brent and then back at Tori.


“She blinked.” Sarah watches for the movement to occur again. “Tori, can you hear me? It’s Mom. Everything is going to be okay—"

And then she feels it: Tori’s hand squeezes hers, ever so lightly.

“Oh my god,” Sarah says, her heart racing. “She’s waking up."

* * * * *

Claire is finishing up with a patient when she receives Philip’s text that he and Molly have arrived at the hospital. She responds that she will meet them in the waiting area and, after making sure that the patient is comfortable, heads to find them. They are sitting stiffly in a pair of chairs against the wall and leap to their feet when they see her.

“How’s she doing?” Molly asks, working her hands together nervously.

“No change. The coma could be a good thing, though. It’s a chance for her body to power down and recover."

“Is that the doctors’ prognosis? That she’s going to recover?”  Philip asks.

Claire shakes her head. “There’s no way to predict that either way. All they can do is monitor her vitals and wait.” 

“Are Sarah and Matt here? I’d like to let them know I’m thinking of all of them,” Molly says.

“Sarah’s in her room right now,” Claire says. “Brent went in to see her a little while ago, too."

Molly and Philip exchange a quick look.

“You go ahead,” Philip says. “I’ll wait here with Claire."

After Claire instructs her on how to find Tori’s room, Molly disappears through the double doors and down the corridor. 

Claire bites her lip as she mulls over a question. Finally she tells Philip, “There’s something I need to ask you."

He cocks his head. “Is something wrong? Aside from the obvious."

“Was Spencer at home last night? When Tori was…"

“Oh. You couldn’t think— Claire.” Philip folds his arms over his chest, causing his navy coat to crinkle and make a swishing noise. “He was at a concert in Seattle. He was with friends — I’m sure they can vouch for that, and that they posted all kinds of things on social media. I was at home when he got back, too. Why would you suspect anything?"

“I don’t know. It’s stupid. I’m just so worried.” She lets this new information sink in. It isn’t definitive, but it certainly holds promise that her and Tim’s suspicions are off-base. “I’ve been running all kinds of crazy scenarios through my head."

“I can assure you that Spencer had nothing to do with what’s happened to Tori,” Philip says. “What’s important is that we all stick together in times like these."

“You’re right,” she says, brightening as she begins to accept that Tim’s fears were just that — unfounded fears. “We just have to trust that Brent and the police will find whoever did this and bring him to justice."

* * * * *

Molly finds Tori’s room just as a squad of medical personnel is descending upon it. She stands against the wall in the hallway and, moments later, Brent leads Sarah out of the room.

“What’s going on?” Molly asks with alarm. 

“She’s waking up,” Sarah says. “She blinked and squeezed my hand."

“That’s so good to hear,” Molly says, even as she notices Brent offering a less-than-enthusiastic expression from behind Sarah. 

The door to Tori’s room closes, and Brent directs the two women back toward the waiting area. They find Claire and Philip huddled together, talking about something that appears to be serious. When Philip sees the trio arrive, he takes a step back from Claire, as if putting space between himself and whatever their conversation might have been.

“She squeezed my hand,” Sarah announces. “The doctors are in with her now."

“They should be able to tell if it’s anything significant very quickly,” Claire says.

Sarah turns sharply toward her. “Significant? She responded to me. That’s a really good sign."

Instead of responding, Claire simply nods. 

  Philip Ragan

“Sarah, I’m so sorry for what your family is going through,” Philip says. 

She even manages a smile. “Thanks."

“Good to see you, Brent,” Philip adds, but all he receives in return is a terse nod.

A few more minutes of awkward, stilted chatter pass before Dr. Salazar appears. The group’s anxiety moves with them like a tangible cloud as they surge toward the doctor.

“Is she awake?” Sarah asks eagerly.

“I’m afraid not,” the graying man says. “Her vital signs haven’t changed. Sometimes coma patients can show signs like that — often they’re simply reflexes, a spasm of a muscle or a shot of energy, or a response to stimuli like pain. Her Glasgow score is still around a 4—"

“What’s a good score?” Sarah says, her optimism now replaced with a sort of forceful commanding.

“An 8 or below indicates that the patient is in a deep coma,” Dr. Salazar says. After offering Sarah a few more conciliatory pieces of information and a promise to keep her updated, the doctor departs, leaving the quintet to process this latest lack of development.

“I was so sure that she was coming around,” Sarah says, her gaze on the floor.

“She’s going to,” Brent says as he pulls out his phone. “I’m gonna go check in with Harris and see what else he’s found."

“Thanks,” Sarah tells him as he heads out of the waiting area.

As Molly and Claire huddle around her with words of reassurance, Philip takes a step back. His head has been spinning and his breaths have been short ever since Sarah burst into the room and announced that Tori could be waking up. Thankfully, it sounds as if that isn’t on the immediate horizon — but one thing has become crystal clear to Philip: Tori Gray has to die.


What will Philip do about Tori now?
Will Molly let Philip back into her life for good?
Can Claire win back Brent’s trust?
Talk about it all in the Footprints Forum!

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Thursday, Nov. 05, 2015

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